9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[per-kuhsh-uh n] /pərˈkʌʃ ən/
the striking of one body against another with some sharpness; impact; blow.
Medicine/Medical. the striking or tapping of the surface of a part of the body for diagnostic or therapeutic purposes.
the striking of a musical instrument to produce tones.
  1. the section of an orchestra or band comprising the percussion instruments.
  2. the percussion instruments themselves.
a sharp blow for detonating a percussion cap or the fuze of an artillery shell.
the striking of sound on the ear.
the act of percussing.
Origin of percussion
1535-45; < Latin percussiōn- (stem of percussiō) a beating. See percuss, -ion
Related forms
percussional, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for percussion
  • Brown decided to string together songs and percussion so that the dance beat never stopped.
  • In the background is the incongruous yet constant beat of a percussion section on the building's roof.
  • And the vinyl's grooves poured out soulful singers, playful highlife guitarists, and tasty local percussion.
  • Rhythmic percussion and dance probably are earlier examples of social bonding than language.
  • It is played with some regularity by more ambitious percussion ensembles, and several recordings of it are available.
  • It leads a triple life, at once a harmony instrument, a melody instrument and a percussion instrument.
  • Sudden bursts of percussion explode within calmer textures.
  • He taught music theory and electronic music and wrote for orchestras and small ensembles, including percussion quartets.
  • It builds an exciting catchy, danceable sound around two trombones and percussion.
  • It called for mechanically synchronizing sixteen player pianos, as well as xylophones and percussion.
British Dictionary definitions for percussion


the act, an instance, or an effect of percussing
(music) the family of instruments in which sound arises from the striking of materials with sticks, hammers, or the hands
  1. instruments of this family constituting a section of an orchestra, band, etc
  2. (as modifier): a percussion ensemble
(med) the act of percussing a body surface
the act of exploding a percussion cap
Word Origin
C16: from Latin percussiō, from percutere to hit; see percuss
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for percussion

early 15c., "a striking, a blow; internal injury, contusion," from Latin percussionem (nominative percussio) "a beating, striking; a beat as a measure of time," noun of action from past participle stem of percutere "to strike hard, beat, smite; strike through and through," from per- "through" (see per) + quatere "to strike, shake" (see quash). Reference to musical instruments is first recorded 1776.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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percussion in Medicine

percussion per·cus·sion (pər-kŭsh'ən)
A method of medical diagnosis in which various areas of the body, especially the chest, back, and abdomen, are tapped with the finger or a plexor to determine by resonance the condition of internal organs.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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percussion in Culture

percussion definition

A family of musical instruments played by striking their surfaces. Percussion instruments are used to accentuate and dramatize certain notes or rhythms and include instruments such as cymbals, drums, triangles, and xylophones. (See kettledrum, snare drum, and orchestra.)

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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